Top 5 Behavioral Emails Every Developer Tool Should Use

Double your open rate by using behavioral emails.

The best way of engaging your customers is to share content that resonates. And nothing resonates more than sending targeted emails to developers based on their own actions and behaviors.

In a companion blog post, Behavioral Email Speeds API Integration, we explained how behaviorally-driven outreach to developers can speed API integration for an API product company. But what exactly are the best emails to get developers and product managers to integrate your API-first platform?

We examined thousands of emails that we sent out to our own customers and found that when we changed email focus from demographic/firmographic issues (company size & vertical, role, location, etc) to behavioral ones (developer funnel stage, endpoint issues, product utilization, rate limits, etc), we achieved a doubling in open rate, and a significant increase in API onboarding rate. By sending the right content to the right person at the right time, we’re able to improve our overall developer experience.

The top five behavioral emails that every API platform company should use are as follows:

1. Welcome Email Segmented by Goal

Upon signing up for your service, ask your prospective customer what they hope to achieve with your platform. For instance, in our onboarding workflow, one of our first steps is to inquire as to their goal:

Welcome Behavioral by Goal


In their welcome email make it clear that you listened to their key issue — explain how your product fulfills their needs. Use merge tags or personalization tokens and insert that same key issue into the Subject Line of the email and even its Header, as illustrated below.

Welcome Behavioral Illustrating Relevancy


2. Developer Integration Email Based on API Usage

Since API-first companies are ultimately most interested in driving integration, measure where developers are in their integration funnel and customize your email(s) accordingly to guide developers better along their journey. The best way to measure what stage they’re at, is to look at the number of API calls made. Trifurcating email messaging into three groups: top, middle and bottom of integration funnel, we get:

Number of API Calls Stage of Integration Email Topic
No API calls in first 7 days Top Integration help with docs & playbook
Less than 1,000 API calls/day Middle Sandbox -> Production with case studies
More than 1,000 API calls/day Bottom Upsell with advanced features

For more details see our companion blog post’s section on usage based emails.

3. Subscription Plan Notification

Self-service API platforms need to scale economically with number of users. One of the biggest management headaches in SaaS is often dealing with subscription issues. By tracking API call volume, it’s possible to handle quotas and plan adjustments automatically:

API Metric Email Topic
Approaching plan quota Plan warning
Over plan quota Plan upgrade
User overage Rate limit

Automatically Notify Customers Of Subscription Issues

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4. Nuanced Error Warning

Service Level Agreements (SLAs), maintenance notifications and error warnings are usually governed by legal agreements. Not adhering to these covenants could cause anything from bad customer relations to financial penalties. By delving deep within your API platform itself, email warnings could be sent out based on nuanced API metrics:

API Metric Email Topic
More than X errors, on endpoint Y, in last Z hours Error warning to check endpoint Y
Using a deprecated or vulnerable SDK Upgrade warning
Outage Global outage warning
Platform vulnerability Susceptible platform warning to subset of customers
Stream of 400/500 errors or SLA exceeded Error warning to check integration

5. New Features Email

Keeping customers abreast of the latest and greatest platform features can often be a sure-fire way to maintain engagement. This is especially true for those at the bottom of the integration funnel (those in production), since they’ll appreciate any new platform capabilities that might make their life easier. In fact, when we publicized our new behavioral email feature using the notification below, we saw email engagement ramp with how actively customers were using our platform.

New Feature Notification Behavioral Emails


Increase Engagement & Drive Adoption With Behavioral Emails

Use this guide as a template for creating your own winning email campaign. We found that by employing the top 5 behavioral emails we were able to double open rate and accelerate integration…

Speed Integration With Behavioral Emails

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Double Your Open Rate By Using Behavioral Emails

Double Your Open Rate By Using Behavioral Emails

Learn More